Chapter 24: Ideology, narrative, and law: Operation Car Wash in Brazil
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This chapter focuses on ‘Operation Car Wash’ (OCW), a criminal investigation in Brazil launched in 2014. On the surface, OCW could be understood as a judicial operation, since it unfolded within the domain of the judiciary. In this chapter, however, we argue that OCW is better understood as an enterprise, a kind of ideological joint venture, between the legal and mass media apparatuses. We focus on the ideological crisis, a part of the political crisis, in order to expose the actual frailty of any given hegemonic bloc, and to capture the forms by which the divergence and imbalance between the forces that make up a momentary hegemony can lead to attacks from the ideological state apparatuses. Our argument is that the OCW episode demonstrates that the state cannot be understood either as a mere instrument of a class or as a subject, but should instead be understood as a fragile, yet powerful, crystallisation of class struggle.

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